Do Clients Always Want More?

Austin Greene

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So, I recently did a photoshoot for two of my friends. Paid (not excessively, but I'm still a newb), and said they could expect 15-20+ images from an hour or so of shooting. I delivered 19, and she insists that there are more good ones etc. and she wants to come look at all the images. Now, I've had this issue almost every time I shoot. I deliver what I think are the best (and some that aren't technically perfect but I know the client will love), and yet they ALWAYS want more. Am I being too selective? Or are they being greedy? I've had lengthly debates with my parents about this topic, and am interested as to what others think. Is it irrational to shoot 275 and deliver 19? I don't know if it's because I'm still so new to portraiture or something else, but I get about 10 GOOD images for every 100 I take. Granted, we were laughing and goofing around a bunch, so a fair amount are silly/unposed images, but still. Maybe I just need to up my keeper percentage?

Cheers!
Jake

I haven't been at this long enough to say what you should do, but I can tell you what I do, and what has worked well for me.

A one hour shoot with me will get a client 3-6 keeper images. I tell them three, and they agree to that before we ever shoot. I spend the first 20 minutes or so walking with them, getting them comfy, and then we slowly warm up in the photos. I probably take...80 shots? Most are metering my flash since these are all outdoors.

I think what I'm trying to get to is that, for me, arranging with clients to expect a relatively few number of images from the get go is immensely helpful. I charge more than most (and I plan on raising rates), but I market as my three images being better than the 15-60 they'd get otherwise. Quality over quantity. The convenient bit is that those clients who agree are often quality clients, people who are looking for solid images, and who don't flake. They also have high referral rates. I'll typically end up with about 10 keepers, so I send six of them their way. They get more photos than they expected, and I don't sink hours and hours into editing 50 shots.

Edit: I should also say that I never give a client all the photos. Not because I don't want to, but simply because it takes up too much time to convert all those RAW files, and I know they simply would toss or never use most of them. It's a hassle, and IMO my time is better spent making sure they get the couple great images they expect, plus one or two extras they don't.
 

Civchic

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<---- Not a professional, has no intention of becoming one, especially not at portraiture.

But I can come at this from a client's perspective. I have a photographer, I've gotten family portraits done every 6-10 months since my son was almost 1 (he's almost 5). Including a newborn shoot for my daughter. My photographer charges $400 for a family shoot, which is about an hour (this is high for the local economy). In the contract it states we'll receive 15 edited images. Usually she ends us editing 20-25, then putting up a low-res online watermarked gallery, and we can choose 15 of them for her to give us the high-res images. She charges $75 per image if we'd like to purchase the other high res images in the gallery.

It works well - we always only get our 15 pictures for the base price, but it gives us a "bit to choose from". And if we actually DO want more than the 15, we are free to pay for them. She has created the opportunity for a little extra cash flow. 15 is usually just plenty, but I have to admit that for my daughter's newborn shoot, I did purchase an extra three. That's $225 she never would have seen if she had only shown me the best 15, instead of the best 25.
 

rexbobcat

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I think you sort of answered this yourself - yes you need to increase your keeper rate, no it doesn't make sense to take 275 photos and provide 20. Your friends aren't dummies (at least I would think that), they know you fired off a helluva lot of shots - so where are they?? They can't help but realize how much you fired off your camera - and they got 20 pictures? Probably doesn't make sense to them. I've done sports/events and I learned how to get it in camera most of the time, but a higher keeper rate would give you less crappy shots to sort thru and more usable shots to be able to use. You probably need to work toward handling shoots in a more business like way to be taken seriously as a pro photographer. If you want to take photos of your friends just for practice and to have fun with it, make it clear that's what you're doing, taking lots of photos to learn and get in some practice - help them have realistic expectations.

Sports and events are different from portraits.
 

rexbobcat

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I always deliver between 20-25 DIFFERENT images regardless of how much a client whines. I don't know why anyone would want 15 extra images of the same pose/lighting/location etc...

That's why I enjoy shooting for publications. You give them 5-10 useable images and they're grateful because that's all they really need.
 

keyseddie

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I'm waiting for my company from Ontario so I read all of these pages. Nobody except maybe tirediron touched on what I'm thinking, probably because his clientele is older.
If you are one of many photographers in your area that does portraits, or products, or food or produces art, you will surely attract the kind of clients consistently mentioned in all 6 pages here. If you happen to be one of one, someone who produces either the most respected quality of a particular genre, or have a particular singular style of your own, you will NEVER have to deal with this kind of issue. If you are a true professional photographer, then find out the top people in the world in your chosen specialty and try and determine what to do to arrive in that rarified air. If you have the talent, it's doable.
As for all the shots, a question. Why can't you decide on your 4 or 5 or more poses if you're a portrait person, shoot one pose one time, chimp it to see if you're lighting and expressions work, and shoot it again if needed, and move on to the next pose? If you need to shoot over 100 frames at a portrait session, you just may be telling your client you're not sure what you are doing and yes, maybe they should want to see them all.
 

Civchic

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I'm waiting for my company from Ontario so I read all of these pages. Nobody except maybe tirediron touched on what I'm thinking, probably because his clientele is older.
If you are one of many photographers in your area that does portraits, or products, or food or produces art, you will surely attract the kind of clients consistently mentioned in all 6 pages here. If you happen to be one of one, someone who produces either the most respected quality of a particular genre, or have a particular singular style of your own, you will NEVER have to deal with this kind of issue. If you are a true professional photographer, then find out the top people in the world in your chosen specialty and try and determine what to do to arrive in that rarified air. If you have the talent, it's doable.
As for all the shots, a question. Why can't you decide on your 4 or 5 or more poses if you're a portrait person, shoot one pose one time, chimp it to see if you're lighting and expressions work, and shoot it again if needed, and move on to the next pose? If you need to shoot over 100 frames at a portrait session, you just may be telling your client you're not sure what you are doing and yes, maybe they should want to see them all.


Keyseddie, again from a client perspective - I understood this to be non-professional models. As in, a family photoshoot or a kids shoot. Even an engagement photos session. If you have a professional model who knows how to sit and take direction, what you describe makes sense. If you're doing an outdoor photo shoot with a couple who've had professional pictures done once, maybe twice before (their wedding), and their maniac children, you're going to have a lot more images.

Speaking as a fat, awkward girl who never knows how to hold her face when a camera is pointing her way - I am SURE that my photographer went "Eugh, no!" several times while downloading photos and tossed those in the trash. How do you get me and the three people I am related to all posed nicely without a stupid face or blinked eyes in only 3 shots?
 

DeadEye

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I hit the delete on most test shots, Why keep them? Did not have that luxury in the ole days (film). To me a high quality shot of what I have envisioned is a done deal the rest go by-by
 

keyseddie

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Clients of a portrait photographer are not models. They are the people you describe above, Civchic. Still, a huge part of a PROFESSIONAL portrait photographer is managing the session. Also, the fact that a person or persons may not be as attractive as they may wish themselves to be, is simply a challenge that you deal with successfully. If you or anyone else took their family to an accomplished and professional portrait photographer, you would be surprised and delighted at their success. Problem is, with the proliferation of watermark photographers, the profession has been diluted enormously.
 

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